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In The Public Interest

Gas prices a challenge for Obama

Here we go again. A sudden surge in the price of gasoline and heating oil is followed by reported expressions of frustrated despair by hard-pressed consumers in the midst of silence from the oil companies and abdication of responsibility by the elected and appointed officials of federal and state governments.

Nine dollars an hour is not enough

How could Barack Obama say, in his State of the Union speech, “let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty,” and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour?

Nine dollars an hour is not enough

 

How could Barack Obama say, in his State of the Union speech, “let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty,” and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour?

 

Hillary Clinton’s militarization of State Department

Hillary Clinton has completed her four-year tenure as Secretary of State to the accolades of both Democratic and Republican Congressional champions of the budget-busting “military-industrial complex,” that President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address.

Behind the public relations sheen, the photo opportunities with groups of poor people in the developing world, an ever more militarized State Department operated under Clinton’s leadership.

Serious news in low supply from mainstream media

 

On Jan. 30, an unusual front-page story appeared prominently in The Washington Post about a small D.C. charity called Martha’s Table that serves meals to 1,100 people a day, has early-childhood and after-school programs, and provides other community-enriching programs. Among its distinctions is a giant volunteer corps of, according to the Post, “10,000 school kids, poor people and the occasional president who chops vegetables and builds sandwiches.” Fascinating!

Obama’s record belies his inaugural rhetoric

A friend asked me what I was thinking while listening to President Obama’s inaugural address. Here were my reactions:

Obama: “They [the Patriots of 1776] gave to us a republic, a government of and by and for the people.”

The flood of money-shaping elections and politics has given us a corporate government of the Exxons, by the General Motors, for the DuPonts.  

Obama: “Together we resolve that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.”

Open letter to Mike Duke, CEO of Walmart

Mike Duke, CEO

Walmart Corp.

Bentonville, AR

Dear Mr. Duke,

Walmart, your gigantic company, is increasingly being challenged by your workers, government prosecutors, civil lawsuits, communities (that do not want a Walmart), taxpayers learning about your drain on government services and corporate welfare, and small businesses and groups working with unions such as SEIU and UFCW.

Thus far, Walmart is successfully playing rope-a-dope, conceding little while expecting to wear down its opposition.

Compare the 1912 elections with 2012

Before the electoral year of 2012 slinks into history, it is worth a comparative glance back to the electoral year of 1912 to give us some jolting perspective on how degraded our contemporary elections, voter performance and election expectations have become.

One hundred years ago, workers were marching, picketing and forming unions. Eugene Debs, the great labor leader and presidential candidate that year, spoke to outdoor labor rallies of 100,000 to 200,000 workers and their families gathered to protest low wages and working conditions.

We need to have ‘Skin in the Game’

In the Public Interest

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s new tour de force book “Antifragile: Things that Gain From Disorder” is a frame-of-reference-altering work that a Wall Street Journal reviewer confessed he would have to read “again and again” presumably to figure out its “somersaults of the mind,” to borrow a phrase from Yoko Ono.

“Antifragile,” following Taleb’s “Black Swan,” which sold 3 million copies and was a world-wide bestseller, is actually six books in one, as Taleb says.

Reining in Obama and his drones

In the Public Interest

Barack Obama, former president of the Harvard Law Review and a constitutional law lecturer, should go back and review his coursework. He seems to have declined to comport his presidency to the rule of law.

Let’s focus here on his major expansion of drone warfare in defiance of international law, statutory law and the Constitution. Obama’s drones roam over multiple nations of Asia and Africa and target suspects, both known and unknown, whom the president, in his unbridled discretion, wants to evaporate for the cause of national security.